By Dennis Glade
Washington Times Herald
Baseball isn't always fair, and that's just fine with Washington freshman pitcher Jake Bedwell.
Bedwell came in to strikeout Barr-Reeve senior Myron Stoll with the bases loaded to end Wednesday's season opening 9-8 victory at Barr-Reeve.
Washington appeared to have the game wrapped up heading into the bottom of the seventh with a 9-4 advantage. Senior Tyler Edmiston was replaced by senior Kyle Pfender, but he surrendered two walks, three hits and four runs before being pulled for Bedwell.
Bedwell promptly struck out Stoll, ending any thought of a Viking win and Hatchet collapse. With the game hanging in the balance, Washington coach Steve Reed felt confident that Bedwell would retire Stoll.
"(Jake) Bedwell - I can't credit him enough," Reed said. "It's almost unfair putting him in that position, but I went out to the mound and had that conference, and I looked at Jake and said how are you feeling? He said give me the ball coach. I got goosebumps, and I said here's the ball. That's just what you want in a kid." Washington started the game off with a bang.
Senior Brayden Walls connected on a three-run home run in the first inning off Stoll to give Washington a 3-0 lead. Two innings later, Walls hit his second homer of the day, this time a solo shot to extend the lead to 4-0.
"Brayden swung the bat tremendously today," Reed said. "He's a senior, he's our leader. Brayden is a kid that can hit and pitch, and I¹m not going to say we need that out of him every night, but he did a great job of getting us on the board there in the first inning. We took advantage of a couple cheap hits we had and Brayden made them pay." After Lucas Graber and Jon McMullen cut the lead in half with run-scoring base hits, Walls hit a sacrifice fly to score junior Max Smith.
In the sixth inning, Washington continued to add runs, this time with an RBI double from Nathan Sult and a run-scoring single from starting pitcher Tyler Edmiston to push the lead to 7-2. Brandon Wagler's two-run home run cut the lead to 7-4, and kept Barr-Reeve in the game.
Washington added two more runs in the top of the seventh, and that turned out to be the difference.
"Barr-Reeve hits the ball," Reed said. "I knew if we had to go to the bullpen, they were going to hit the ball. You look up and it's 9-4, and you're still thinking we got to three outs here." The loss was the second in as many days for the Vikings (2-2), who lost 5-4 in nine innings at Forest Park Tuesday night in a game that they led 4-2 entering the seventh inning.
"We didn't deserve to win the baseball game, that's the bottom line," said Barr-Reeve coach Nathan Lester. "(Washington) did the things that they needed to do, and we had several opportunities to score runs (13 baserunners left on base) and we gave them several runs on routine balls. Bottom line is we didn't deserve to win the game." The season opening victory for Washington can serve as a jump start for Reed and his team as they go forward with an inexperienced squad.
"When you only have two or three guys coming back, you're not real sure how the team will respond in situations like that, but they're going to grow up pretty quick," Reed said.
Washington 301 102 2 - 9 12 3
Barr-Reeve 002 002 4 - 8 11 2
Edmiston, Pfender (7), Bedwell (7) and Sult; Stoll, James (6) and L. Graber.
W-Edmiston, L-Stoll. HR: (W) Walls (2), Pfender; (BR) B. Wagler. 2B: (W) Bedwell, Sult, (BR) L. Graber, McMullen.